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WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

North Carolina legislators completed their court-ordered redistricting this week. Lawmakers were working on a swift turnaround and, for more transparency, the mapping sessions were livestreamed. The process drew criticism and praise. Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss the meaning of "independent" redistricting and whether anything has changed with lawmakers' return to consideration of Medicaid expansion. 
 


A close-up photo of Cokie Roberts.
Wikimedia Commons

The journalism community is in mourning over the loss of veteran broadcaster Cokie Roberts. Considered one of the founding mothers of NPR, Roberts blazed trails for women in journalism while helping to set the tone and standard for the emerging field of public radio.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2mr6xsv

The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies accusing them of misusing federal funds in their programming.

Grant Holub-Moorman / WUNC

Artists Alice Gerrard, Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves each has a rich musical career in her own right. But when they come together as a trio, the musicians open up space to exchange songs and stories across generations.

I’ve lived in Chapel Hill my whole life. I live with my mom, dad, older brother Alex, two dogs, Rex and Bear, and my grandmother.

Chatham County Line
Patrick Shanahan / Yep Roc Music Group

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This time, Pinecone Director William Lewis tell us why he loves Chatham County Line's 'Living In Raleigh Now.'

The International Bluegrass Music Association Festival takes place next weekend in...Raleigh.

Rape kit supplies
Robert C. Reed / Hickory Daily Record

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says a new law to fund testing for sexual assault kits sitting in law enforcement evidence closets will put rapists in prison and ensure a backlog never happens again.

Steven Spielberg’s work ranges from the gripping war drama “Saving Private Ryan” to the animated series “Pinky and the Brain.” He scared us with “Poltergeist,” and fascinated us with “Jurassic Park.” Spielberg made us laugh at “The Goonies” and cry in “The Color Purple.” Whether writing, producing or directing, Steven Spielberg is one of Hollywood’s elite filmmakers whose name is worth its weight in Oscar gold. This month we want to know about your favorite Spielberg movie? 

 

Illustration of someone surrounded by life stressors.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

The World Health Organization now officially lists workplace burnout as an occupational syndrome in its International Classification of Diseases manual.

Cameras outside the International Space Station captured a stark and sobering view of Hurricane Florence the morning of Sept. 12 as it churned across the Atlantic in a west-northwesterly direction with winds of 130 miles an hour.
Courtesy of NASA

Coastal flooding from hurricanes and other tropical storms is getting worse, according to a recent study by researchers at the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City. Scientists looked at more than 120 years of data on tropical cyclones and rainfall in North Carolina. They found six of the wettest events occurred in the last 20 years. Hans Paerl, the study's lead author, says statistical analysis shows that’s more than just a string of bad luck.

Cliff Parker
Elon University Office of Communications

Elon University joined other schools, community groups and law enforcement officials across the country for an inaugural National Day of Reconciliation. The idea was to improve relations between police and people of color.

Drone in flight
Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

The Research Triangle has been chosen to host test sites where researchers will develop drone technology in rural and suburban settings.

An improvised scene from 'Midnight Cowboy'
United Artists

People constantly quote and misquote cinema — sometimes without ever having seen the referenced film. Think about lines like “You had me at hello”; “Hasta la vista, baby”; or “Play it again, Sam.” Sometimes the words many of us repeat are never spoken in the movie, and other times they are phrases that actors made up on the spot. Whether it’s from Monty Python, Whoopi Goldberg, or a Spielberg flick, movie quotes are the way we map our cultural common ground.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

The Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly on Tuesday finished its court-ordered task of redrawing dozens of state house and senate districts in a very undramatic fashion. The House voted for the Senate remap and the Senate approved the House proposal.

The task comes two weeks after a dramatic, first-of-its-kind ruling on September 3 when a Wake County Superior Court judicial panel declared Republican lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly had gerrymandered legislative districts for excessively partisan gains and, therefore, violated the state constitution.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

The North Carolina General Assembly is again sending redrawn district maps back to the court for review.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr weighs in and remembers former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake, who wrote another precedent-setting decision on redistricting. Orr also has an eye on a proposal in California that would let college athletes earn compensation from sponsorships.

Erik Chapman, town of Cary's Information Technology security manager
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Server rooms are boring. Stacks of computers with blinking lights. Cords in red, yellow, black and blue held together with zip ties. They're chilly from the extra air conditioning that keeps them cool.

In Cary's town hall, the server room is deep inside a building under constant lock. Town Information Technology Security Manager Erik Chapman had to swipe his badge and enter a number code to get in. The whirring sound of dozens of computers running at the same time rushed out of the door as it opened.

U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.
Liam James Doyle / NPR

Two Republicans who triumphed in North Carolina special elections are set to join the House on Tuesday, including one whose narrow win showed anew that suburban voters are deserting the GOP while rural residents are embracing the party.

Photo of inside of NC Senate Chambers
Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina will soon have new legislative maps. The previous maps were tossed out after a three-judge panel unanimously declared them unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders.

Mary Ellis Stevens

Ninth-grader Greta Thunberg sat outside the Swedish legislature in 2018 and declared her commitment to strike each Friday to demand that her government undertake a radical response to climate change. At that moment she became the face and voice of a generation of youth anxious and motivated to do something about climate change.

Randall Munroe / Riverhead Books

XKCD is a stick-figure webcomic. While the drawings might be simple, the ideas explore universal concepts like romance, sarcasm, math, and language. The exchanges between stick figures can capture the imagination and attention span of a child while wading into complex astrophysics and existential dilemmas. 

A water fountain inside a hallway at a school at Chapel Hill Carrboro Public Schools.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Even low levels of lead can cause harm to children, but 22 states, including North Carolina, don’t require schools and day cares to test the levels of lead in children’s drinking water.

Hurricane Dorian Hits NC Tobacco Farmers

Sep 16, 2019
Strickland Farms
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

North Carolina tobacco farmers say Hurricane Dorian destroyed at least 20 to 25 percent of their total harvest, hurting the state's overall tobacco industry, according to David Thomas, of the U.S. Tobacco Cooperative.

Tommy Coyote / Courtesy of Miriam Tolbert

How do local artists make it big these days? In the age of recommendation algorithms and music streaming, can a radio DJ spin an indie artist into fame? Miriam Tolbert is trying to do just that by slowly turning the attention of a commercial station back to the local scene. 

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Updated 9:10 a.m.

Facing a deadline this week, the North Carolina legislature stayed on track to enact replacement districts for dozens of its seats on time, even as citizens critiqued the maps in a public meeting.

Courtesy of Pawel Czerwinski

The Guilford County School District is asking for $10 million dollars from the local Board of Education for safety and security improvements. 

The district wants to reduce the number of open exterior doors, upgrade surveillance systems, improve the emergency communications and fire alarm and detection systems and introduce student ID badges for more secure access into schools.

Nathaniel Persily
Stanford Law School

North Carolina judges who ruled the state's legislative district maps were drawn to unconstitutionally favor Republicans are hiring a familiar expert to review how state lawmakers fix the problem.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Even for relatively chaotic North Carolina, it was a wild week in state politics.

There was a major vote that caught many by surprise, court-ordered redistricting carried on, and a judicial pioneer passed away.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Mitch Kokai, of the John Locke Foundation, discuss those stories, as well as an incident involving a state senator, a journalist, and a phone that went flying.

A home at fort Bragg getting major renovations under the new program.
U.S. Army Photo

The private-sector companies that manage housing on U.S. military bases have been under fire ever since media reports last winter about problems like mold and poor maintenance, and Congress is considering reforms.

Now one of the companies —  which operates the housing on Fort Bragg and a dozen other installations —has unveiled an unusual plan it says will help, and could be a model for the other companies.

Theseus and The Minotaur (The Black, Queer Version)

Sep 13, 2019
Allison Swaim / WUNC

When I started the summer, I wanted to write about the struggle of black LGBT youth in churches that didn’t approve of their lifestyle and persecuted them for their sexuality. 

Lake sits at his desk.
(AP Photo/Karen Tam, File)

Former North Carolina State Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr. died Thursday at age 85. Known as a law and order conservative who sometimes wore his pistol in court, Lake spearheaded the Actual Innoncence Commission which gave birth to North Carolina’s Innocence Inquiry Commission and helped make the state a leader in overturning wrongful convictions.

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